OCP Warns of Predatory Practices Around Home Title Deeds

There has been an increase in the number of reports from homeowners concerned about misleading claims about possibly having their homes taken away, according to the county’s Office of Consumer Protection.

Homeowners have been targeted with internet or other ads providing misleading information about the ease with which a phony quitclaim deed can be filed in the Circuit Court Land Records to change the records of who owns a home.

The parties then offer to provide “protection” and “monitoring” services for a price.

“These predatory advertisements seek to capture customers through fear and missing information, making consumers believe that they will be subjected to financial harm if they do not purchase their services,” Eric Friedman, OCP director, said in a press release.

“In fact, house stealing by filing fraudulent quitclaim deeds is extremely rare in Montgomery County, and there are several internal processes that make such activity highly unlikely,” he continued. “These advertisements do not disclose full information.”

OCP is working with the Circuit Courts, the county’s Finance Department, and the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation to compile and provide basic information about filing deeds and how they are recorded.

That information is now available online.

The Maryland Attorney General also is providing information online about these predatory practices.

“The bottom line is: You don’t need to purchase title lock insurance,” the AG’s office writes. “It neither locks nor insures your home title against fraud.”

Photo: © Lane Erickson – stock.adobe.com

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